The Effects of the Battle of Kadesh

The Ramesside period is a very interesting section in the chronological history of the Ancient Egyptians.  In this time period great battles were fought in attempts to control the borders of Ancient Egypt and expand the Egyptian Empire.  Rameses II was the most notable Pharaoh in this time period and arguably the most successful Pharaoh of all time.  At the age of 30 Rameses II had inherited the throne of Ancient Egypt as fourth Pharaoh in the 19th Dynasty.  Rameses II is an important Pharaoh in the chronological history of the Ancient Egyptians because during his reign we see many changes occurring in the economy and culture of the Egyptians.

Through military campaigns, Rameses II had strengthened the economy of the Ancient Egyptians.  However, the oldest documented battle on earth had great effects on this powerful economy as well as the culture of the Ancient Egyptians.  The battle of Kadesh is an important battle to take note because even though there was no victor in the end, the Egyptian Empire had gained an alliance with the Hittites by making a treaty.  The agreement was that neither side will invade each other’s territories and they would work as an alliance against other foreign rulers such as the Syrians.  Later on, Rameses II had married the daughter of the Prince of the Hittites that had further legitimized the bond between these two powerful nations.  This act of marriage is an example of change occurring in the culture of the Ancient Egyptians because marriage in earlier dynasties were blood related to maintain the royal bloodline.  Rameses II had also caused problems for modern day Archaeologists and Egyptologists because as Pharaoh, he had removed the names of prior Pharaohs on monuments and replaced it with his own name.  Because of this act, it is difficult to understand the chronological list of previous Kings.  He had also made depictions of him winning the battle of Kadesh, which throws scholars off track from the real history of the Ancient Egyptians.

1 thought on “The Effects of the Battle of Kadesh

  1. I think you bring up a very interesting point about the confusion Ramses II has caused for Egyptian archaeologists and Egyptologists. By removing the names of previous pharaohs Ramses II “altered” history. The same is true with his “inaccurate” depiction of the battle of Kadesh in which he portrayed himself as the victor. How have archaeologists and Egyptologists remedied this situation since we do know the names of pharaohs prior to Ramses II and that he did not win the battle of Kadesh?

    I think this speaks to the importance of multiple lines of evidence for the reconstruction of history and past populations. Archaeologists must analyze historical documents and art while Egyptologists must analyze material culture excavated by archaeologists. In this way both fields are able to create the most comprehensive picture of the past that the evidence allows. The archaeological discoveries in Egypt have helped to clarify the falsehoods (and deletions) that Ramses II put forth. For example, the kings lists discovered by archaeologists in other royal tombs document the full list of pharaohs. Thus, the removal of names by Ramses II did not permanently remove these other rulers from history. Your post really highlights the need for archaeologists and Egyptologists to work together to accurately depict Egyptian history.

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